Community members celebrate black history

Community leaders and citizens participated in the sixth Annual Black History Program at the Lawrence-Gregory Community Center on Saturday.

Around 50 people attended the event, according to Gregory Grady, who supervises the center. He said the attendance doubled from last year.

Gregory also opened the program, saying what black history means to him.

“Black history is the greatest story ever told in the world,” Grady said.

The program included performances by the Pearls of Perfection, LeVerne Payne Community Center’s F.A.B.U.L.O.U.S. Step Team and the Tallahassee Boys Show Choir.

It also included original poetry by Keith Rogers, who is a part of Black on Black Rhyme. Rogers’ poem, “A Child Born to Be Mourned,” gave the perspective that black children, especially young black males, were born just to be mourned by their families later in life because of senseless black on black crime.

City Commissioner Andrew Gillum also made an appearance.

“The future of our African-American history in this country, the future of African-American contributions that these young people can make in our society, is under threat,” Gillum said.

Bernard Major, a third-year criminal justice student from Fort Lauderdale, said it’s important to support the youth.

“The youth are our future,” Major said. “These kids are participating today with their talents, whether it is dance, rap or playing a musical instrument.”

Sarah Thornton, a fourth-year criminal justice student from West Palm Beach who volunteers at the center, said it serves as a place where children can receive guidance.

“The center makes a huge impact in the community,” Thornton said. “You see so many kids in the community don’t have a parent at home to steer them in the right direction, so they’re evolving off their own senses, which is not good because they’re young. Here, they have mentors and older people who can help them, give them direction and insight and can be that guardian or that parent for them.”